A Sepulveda nail salon that was heavily damaged by fire early Thursday became the 12th San Fernando Valley beauty shop to be victimized by a serial arsonist since February, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported.
The Nail, located in a mini-mall in the 8200 block of Sepulveda Boulevard, was broken into, ransacked and set afire about 1:50 a.m., Inspector Ed Reed said.
Arson investigators believe the fire, which caused an estimated $20,000 in damage, is related to 11 other break-ins at hair and nail salons in the mid-Valley area in which 10 fires causing more than $1 million in damages have been set.
"The cause of this fire was definitely incendiary and the characteristics of what happened there are definitely consistent with the others," Reed said. "We are considering it No. 12."
The 11 break-ins and 10 fires occurred on Feb. 18, April 18, May 2 and May 22. In each case, a salon located in a small shopping plaza was broken into, undisclosed items were stolen and, in all but one case, a fire was set. The only break-in in which no fire was set occurred on May 22 at a Van Nuys salon, Reed said.
A lengthy investigation of the string of crimes has eliminated most common motives for arson, including insurance fraud, extortion, competition or gang or organized crime activity, Reed said. Investigators have made no arrests in any of the cases.
"The thing that connects them is the similarities in the pattern of breaking in, ransacking and setting a fire," Reed said.